Tour de France Live : Perhaps no other sports event puts so many fans in such close contact with athletes as the Tour de France, with swarms of people clogging city streets, winding roads and soaring mountain passes during cycling’s three-week showpiece and getting within touching distance of the riders.
And yet, unlike almost every other major sporting event this summer, including the Tokyo Olympics, the Tour has yet to be called off despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
For now, the start date remains June 27 – and there is a possibility that the race could be held without any fans lining the course.
France’s sports minister Roxana Maracineanu said the Tour can still exist in a time of social distancing.
The economic model of the Tour de France does not rely on ticket sales but on TV rights and media broadcasting,” Maracineanu told France Bleu radio on Wednesday evening.
Everyone has understood the benefits of staying at home and prioritising the televised spectacle. In the end, it would not be so disadvantageous because we could watch it on television.” But it would be a Tour unlike any other.
The race, which was first held in 1903, is synonymous with images of thousands of crammed-in spectators stuck together like glue on winding ascents up the Alps, cheering on the riders as they go past.
On the final day of the race, a ceremonial ride into Paris, legions of yellow- jersey wearing spectators normally amass behind steel barriers along the Champs- Elysees: several banks deep and shoulder to shoulder, with fast-turning heads catching a glimpse of the winner flashing past.
Millions of fans watch each year’s race in a festive atmosphere stretching across all areas of France. This year’s race has 21 stages, where fans traditionally stand watching all along the way, and the longest is 218 kilometres.
BELGIAN cyclist Antoine Demoitie died after he was struck by a motorbike following a fall during the Gent-Wevelgem race on Sunday (European time), police said.
Demoitie was transported to a hospital in Lille after the accident in Sainte-Marie-Cappel, northern France, but died some time later.
Some media outlets are reporting the 25-year-old was run over by a race motorcycle after falling from his bike, and while it did not cause his crash, the subsequent injuries he sustained may have been the result of the moto following the rider too closely.
The rider died. An inquiry is under way to determine the circumstances,” said Frederic Evrard, spokesman for the Nord-Pas-de-Calais regional gendarmerie in France.